Jason and I have noticed that our boys were getting a little spoiled. We would get home from daycare and they would start screaming "watch!" signaling for me to put on their latest favorite movie. No kind words. No polite tone. A directive order. Waaaaaait a minute, I should NOT be taking orders from a toddler. We decided to that screens need to go and the boys needed to partake more actively in play.
Here is what we have found:
BEFORE doing "screen free" our kids demanded the t.v. on and did not use complete sentences or "kind words" as we call them like please and thank you, when asking for their show turned on. When it was time for bed or to transition to a new activity, we were met with oppositional behaviors (talk back, tantrums, and walking away from us). Worst was, they were so tuned into the television that they didn't interact with each other or with me! They were little tv zombies!
AFTER starting "screen free" was have noticed so many positive changes. Our boys PLAY with each other. They practice communication skills "please don't knock down my tower" or "let me show you how to play this game". We embark on dance parties, cooking dinner together and even reading books. When transitions approach (bath time, bed time or time to leave the house) the boys greet it with smiles. No more talk-back. No more melt downs but rather two little toddlers walking to the next part of their day. What Jason and I love the most is when we go to restaurants or have long car rides, we are no longer tied to a screen. The boys color on placemats or contribute to conversations rather than be glued to an iPad.
Is it easy? No way! It was (and still is) hard work to make the switch. There are plenty of times where I just need a moment and want to throw on a movie but now that movie time (limited to about 30 minutes) is a special treat that happens once or twice a week. They don't even ask for it anymore and we had some occasions where they were offered 30 minutes of screen time and they said "No thanks". I never in a million years thought that would be our scenario.
So if you are looking to cut down the screen time and kick it old school, give it a shot. The first few days are tough, but once they tap into their own creativity, the sky will be the limit!
Screen Free Activities
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